Censorship, political interference, and COVID-19 chaos - should scientists take a position in USA Election?
This is ABC podcast. All choice between getting a safe vaccine or really a lot you know by who wants to lock it down he wants to listen to Dr. Want to listen to the doctor. And don't forget Dr Fouts you what he said is no, no don't close to China I said I'm sorry doctor your wonderful man and I use a I spent your when he doesn't say anything happened. He's all about his reelection. It should be about the American people and they're in trouble and if we don't do it and by the way is on, CDC's director contradicted him recently he said if in fact digest wore masks nothing else. But this mass you would say between now and January another hundred thousand lives. Is Science political some say no that at its heart it must remind this objective politically neutral enterprise of the say yes absolutely. Because people do science and people are political animals. The US election has been a long time coming, and now the was showdown between Donald Trump and Joe Biden is just is away but from the Hiaasen and devastation of covid nineteen to allegations of censorship of spin and overt political interference right now, American Science ffices a reckoning and some scientists are turning activists, which is not without its risks I'm the Tesha Mitchell. Is. Science friction and my guest today. Professor Holden Thorp, who is a chemist and editor in chief of the prestigious Journal, Science and Associated Family of publications Laura. Hell move is editor in chief of scientific. American magazine Laura was former sites and health editor with the Washington Post and past president of the National Association of Science Writers in the US, and they both join me this week from Washington DC. Thanks so much for having. US. Great to be here at the March for science rallies by scientists across the US three years ago defending science under the new trump administration really feels like a lifetime ago. It's threes on on the eve of the next election you're in the middle of a pandemic tycoon litmus test each of you of the mood. Amongst the scientific community right now, what are your impressions? Laura I think people are furious Terrified outraged and we're in this weird cycle of sinking your you've peaked in your outrage that you couldn't. Be More just aghast how badly the trump administration has done around health and science in the environment and then every day it gets worse Holden yes. I agree with all that and I think there's a Another element to it among researchers which is. That a lot of scientists have worked extremely hard. Under very difficult circumstances to get us to a point where we can imagine the pandemic ending and they're not getting any validation from their government and I think that is psychically devastating on top of just the general. Fury that Laura's describing there was a study out today saying that the. Near know the death rate and Hospitals is way down. But there's no acknowledgement of all the hard work that went into achieving that and that I think is really demoralizing lower. Your magazine Scientific American has made a point now of. Well. As made a point of never endorsing an American president in, it's one hundred and seventy five year history now, eat as well as the New England Journal of Medicine, as well as the journal Nature as well as a statement by eighty-one Nobel laureate in science have all come out and endorsed Biden and I. I'm curious as a science journalist y step away from political neutrality and impartiality. Why now it's a very it's a very complicated decision to Mike at Times to do that. It is yeah and it is not a decision that we made lightly. But you know during the March for Science I think that was a turning point when a lot of scientists organizations endorsed the March it was supposed to be an apolitical march but it was clearly Aimed at the trump administration in motivated by fears that the trump administration even from the very first month's was cutting federal science departments was threatening to cut budgets into to restrict what kind of research could be done. So from the very beginning of his administration, he's really been a hindrance to sci. He's prevented people from doing their best were his his travel policies are very phobic, and so they've been interfering with international science collaborations. I think even if the coronavirus pandemic hadn't happened, we still would have endorsed by because trump has been just so catastrophic for every other kind of science as well. But then with with the Kobe, pandemic was just completely clear that you know it's one thing to share misinformation conspiracy theories about you know about politics or whether the earth is flat, but he's been sharing so many conspiracy theories and stoking xenophobia and racism about the pandemic, and it's literally killing people people are dying because they're listening to him rather than hearing from the public health experts that he should be amplifying.